So what is the number one thing you need to ditch if you want to get healthy? Most people imagine it is dietary fat especially things like butter & cream. But no, in my opinion the biggest evil is poor quality carbohydrates that cause more health and weight problems than any other substance. Namely sugar- in all its glorious forms. Sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolate (sorry!- a small amount of the dark stuff is fine if you can stop at a small amount) , white bread, white anything, honey, fructose, fruit juice, fruit squash, crisps. Processed junk foods. All dietary carbohydrate is broken down into sugar in the intestines to be used as energy and the excess stored as fat. We do need carbohydrate but you need to get this vital component of your diet from healthy sources.
Too much sugar has an effect on your blood sugar levels. You need your blood sugar levels to remain relatively constant and not to be swinging up and down, which can make you feel weak, tired and cranky.
Fruit is an excellent source of simple carbohydrate providing an easily accessible energy source but is quickly used up. Fruit juice can contain the juice of several pieces of fruit without the fibre from the fruit, it is far preferable to eat the fruit instead. About 2 serves of fresh fruit/day is ideal.
Starchy carbohydrates are also an essential part of a healthy diet but for optimum health, vitality and weight are best limited to a couple of portions/day. My favourites would be oats, sweet potato, brown basmati rice, pumpkin or wholegrain bread(if not sensitive to grains).
Fibrous carbohydrates are my favourite and can be eaten in abundance. They contain great nutrition as well as fibre and should form the bulk of you lunch and dinner. Broccoli, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, mushrooms, tomato, courgette, aubergine, peppers, kale, beans and asparagus are some good examples.
Now for what I have been up to. Firstly my diet has had a big overhaul, I was getting a little fond of ‘healthy’ snack food such as dark chocolate, dark chocolate coated rice cakes and oat biscuits. If you can eat them in moderation that is fine such as once or twice a week, but some of us didn’t get the moderation gene. All or nothing- the ’all’ wasn’t working so it’s time for none. Sugar is gone, except for 1-2 serves of fresh fruit a day which tastes delicious when the rest of the sweet stuff has gone. And if I really feel in need of a treat which has happened once then I mixed some quark (low fat dairy product with very little sugar) with some strawberries. Yummy.
I also stepped up the exercise big time. This has involved going to the gym twice(ouch) and running 3 times for 4-5 miles. Don’t be put off by the running bit- this time last year I could hardly run for 30 seconds but it is amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it.
The results so far? After 1 week I can report the loss of 2 pounds and 1/2 an inch disappeared from my waist & hips. My aim is to lose a stone in weight and several inches, or 1 very decent dress size, by Easter. Fairly ambitious but I am very goal focused and anything close to that will be marvelous.
So my new healthier habits are in place and being maintained. I haven’t been perfect- Valentines Day got in the way (some nice rioja and lasagna) but I am not a perfect person- it’s what you do 95% of the time that matters. Some people have an 80% rule but I feel that is a little too relaxed. Find out what works for you and stick to it.
That’s all for today at me.com so hope you all have a fab week & I will be back soon with more info and progress.
Sarah Leather, N.D., IS.Hom